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Thursday 22nd September 2022 – HAVING SPENT …

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… all the afternoon writing up my notes from yesterday, I’m now going to spend all the evening writing up the notes from today.

And notes a-plenty there will be too because there was quite a bit of activity going on in and around the headland this afternoon while I was on my afternoon walk.

And of the 20 photos that survived the cut, there will be plenty to say about them too. No time like the present so I shall have to make a start.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so while you sitting comfortably admiring plenty of photos of the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter F-ZBQA practising its craft along with its crew this afternoon, I shall begin.

And I’ll begin where I left off, which was coming home last night after midnight, letting it all hang out, the dirty stop-out that I am.

It’s hardly a surprise that once I settled in my chair I couldn’t summon up the energy to go to bed. In the end, it was after 02:00 that I finally called it a night staggered off into bed.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One thing that I regretted was not checking the fitbit.

While we were on our way back to Granville I noticed that I was on 93% of my daily activity. But walking around while we waited for a table must have clocked up well over 100%

However when I checked after I returned home, it showed just 1%. Of course, it was after midnight wasn’t it, and so it had reset and I’d missed what was the final total.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was no alarm last night. I’d switched it off in the hope of having a decent sleep to compensate me for my efforts.

However, it didn’t work out like that. I ended up awakening at 06:30 and at various times thereafter. Had I set my mind to it I could have been out of bed a long time before … errr … 10:30.

Some stuff on the dictaphone too but I didn’t have the time to deal with it right away. It wasn’t until almost bedtime that I managed to find a moment to deal with it..

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022I was back home. I’d been out for a very long walk but for some unknown reason I was only half-dressed. I was in one of the upstairs rooms. I could hear everyone downstairs and the clanking of plates as if it was lunchtime. I thought that I’d betther finish dressing so I grabbed the rest of my clothes, went into the bedroom and dressed. I came out and the sofa had gone. I had who had moved the sofa. My mother stuck her head in the door and asked “what do you mean?”. “The sofa – where’s it gone?”. She pointed to it being stood up in a corner out of my view. She must have been past and cleaned the floor. I went to put down the sofa. She said “you can do that afterwards. It’s mealtime. Come down and have something to eat with the rest of us”.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having dealt with the medication the next task was to sort out the photos from yesterday.

And when I’d finished those, I could make a start on the notes from all of the places that we visited while we were on our trip out.

Another purpose of this blog is to make me much better-acquainted with what is happening around here and in other places that I visit. And I’m certainly learning an awful lot. That’s because taking photographs is one thing, writing notes about what I photograph is something else completely.

fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire all of the photos of the water craft that were out there today (and weren’t there a lot?) I was busy researching the photos from yesterday.

It takes a lot of discipline to do it correctly, and I’ve had to learn how to discipline myself. After all, what with the Recession, I can no longer afford that woman in Soho.

And so I settled down with the computer, a couple of ancient guide books, my book on the Hundred Years War and started to work.

fishing kayak baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of the Hundred Years War … “well, one of us is” – ed … for most British people, it’s a story of Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers and a few other things too, mostly inspired by William Shakespeare.

For the French however, it was something else completely. When there was no major fighting, there were bands of discharged soldiers roaming around the country at will, terrorising the civilians and committing all kinds of bestial acts.

In addition, there were what they called chevauchées, raiding parties led by noblemen who would use terror as a means of enriching themselves and their followers by any means possible.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022All in all, it was a total nightmare for the civilian population in France. Imagine the events that have happened so far in Ukraine lasting for 116 years, from 1337 to 1453.

A few years ago, while I was rummaging around in a junk shop like you do … “like SOME of you do” – ed … I came across an old book written in French that described the Hundred Years War from the French point of view in almost 500 pages.

Obviously, it was far too good a purchase to miss and so I’ve been having a good read of it today as I’ve been working.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That’s because the history of Avranches and Mont St Michel are pretty-much tied up with what was happening during the Hundred Years War.

For example, the dramatic and rapid modifications to the entrance to Mont St Michel, brought about by the rapid and dramatic development of field artillery that rendered obsolete each modification almost as soon as it was completed.

It took ages to do because there were the usual interruptions, like coffee, lunchtime fruit, and all that kind of thing too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not forgetting the afternoon walk around the headland either.

And i’m glad that I went out despite all the work because it was a beautiful day. And there were several people down there on the beach enjoying it, as I discovered when I went over to the wall at the end of the car park.

They weren’t actually sunbathing, although they may well have done because it was that nice today. I’d actually gone out without a sweater today and I’d even had the fan on in the office for a short while.

yellow autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We’ve seen plenty of stuff going on out at sea, and also quite a bit in the air too.

But the helicopter wasn’t all that was going on up there. As I set off to tramp around the headland I was overflown.

Having seen one of the powered hang gliders yesterday down at Mont St Michel, it’s the turn of the yellow autogyro to go down there, I suppose, and I caught her on her way back to the airfield.

There were two people on board this afternoon so it looks as if there has been an interested spectator today.

normandy trader baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While i’d been walking around, I’d seen something larger than the usual trawler heading our way from the direction of St Helier.

It didn’t take a moment to work out that it was in fact Normandy Trader coming in to port, presumably to pick up the freight that we saw being dropped at the quayside the other day.

We can tell that it’s she because of the raised platform at the back of the wheelhouse. Her sister Normandy Warrior has a larger wheelhouse but no raised platform behind it, carrying all her freight in the hold.

people watching air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were crowds of people out there this afternoon in the nice weather.

Plenty milling around up and down the path, but by far the most of them standing around on the lawn or on the car park watching what was going on with F-ZBQA, the air sea rescue helicopter Eurocopter EC 145 that usually lives at Donville les Bains.

She’d been flying around quite a lot while I’d been out for my walk, and so I wasn’t convinced that this was a “real” rescue. I was of the opinion that it was more of a drill or a training rather than anything else.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so all in all, this afternoon there was tons of stuff going on, more than enough to keep anyone entertained.

And so for that reason, I was puzzled by the apparent insouciance of the person sitting on the bench down at the cabanon vauban.

There he was, in a ringside seat with all of this going on. The best seat in the house and he seemed to be casually reading a book instead of watching all the activity unfolding right before his eyes.

There’s no accounting for taste, is there?

normandy trader baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I saw Normandy Trader just now I thought to myself that with all of the activity going on just outside the port, she’s going to have something of a surprise when she goes around the headland and finds herself in the middle of whatever is going on.

So around the corner she came, and the first thing that I noticed was that she didn’t have all that much freight on board.

She usually carries the shellfish from the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative but since Brexit that’s not been a very easy product to export

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … after Brexit you can catch as much fish as you like without any let or hindrance, but it counts for absolutely nothing if you don’t have a market in which to sell it.

normandy trader air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So here she comes, right into the thick of the action.

A little later on, I spoke to Nathan, her skipper. He told me that he was impressed by the welcome that he received today.

But anyway, while I watched what was going on, the Eurocopter was lowering down someone to where there was a buoy, and then just hauling him up again, with all of the proceedings being surveyed by the small boat directly underneath.

“Definitely a training exercise” I said to myself.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With all of that going on, it was easy to forget that there was other activity too today.

This is a scene that had it happened on any other day, it would have been headline news. It’s the moment when they are about to open the gates and let all of the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

Consequently they are all queueing up there at the gate and there are plenty of others at the Fish Processing Plant who have already unloaded who are now waiting their turn to go inside and ties up for the day.

This would have made quite a dramatic photograph on its own.

charles marie yachts air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With Normandy Trader having gone past on her way into port, next on the scene is Charles Marie.

She’s a charter yacht who takes out private parties or else organised day-trips when she isn’t doing anything else. She has about a dozen people on board and I’m sure that they are all having more than their money’s worth this afternoon.

As well as that, I bet that there isn’t much being taught in the yachts at the sailing school that have gone out this afternoon. They probably have other things on their minds too.

normandy trader entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So as Normandy Trader headed into port and F-ZBQA headed back to base for presumably a change of crew, I headed off back home.

And armed with a mug of hot coffee and a handful of brazil nuts, I carried on with my notes from yesterday.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with left-over stuffing. And with the stuffing having been marinating now since Monday night, it was even more delicious than usual.

But now I have other fish to fry after this evening’s marathon. Work is never finished, is it?

There’s a lot more to do tomorrow as I have some plans festering away in the background. I’m ready to have another day off and I’ve only been back at work for a day.

Wednesday 17th August 2022 – SO RATHER LATER …

… than usual, here I am writing up my notes.

Yes, this evening I’ve been gallivanting – spending time with the neighbours and as anyone will tell you, that’s not like me at all, is it? I don’t do “social”.

Anyway, another late night again yesterday, but not at all as late as the previous night. I didn’t finish my notes until late (and that’s not a surprise seeing how many there were) and then there was something interesting (and I can’t remember now what it was) that came round on the playlist.

So that was that.

It was another morning when I didn’t feel much like leaving the bed and in fact I loitered around for a good few minutes before deciding to pluck up the courage to haul myself out of my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I had been during the night. I started in a hotel near the town centre of a strange town somewhere in Southern Belgium. I’d stopped there the night because I had to go to a meeting in another town that evening and this was the best that I could do. I looked at the travel arrangements. I could see where the buses pulled up and parked but I had a quick look on the internet and saw that there was a train so I decided to set out and find the Railway Station. I went outside just as the bus pulled away from the bus stop so I couldn’t see what that was. Round a couple of corners I could see a road in the distance high up that was dropping down to the road on which was my hotel. I remembered the layout of the roads now. There was a car park with a few ancient Harrington coaches complete with tailfins. Then I saw a sign that said “to the railway station”. I followed the sign and ended up in a shopping precinct. I couldn’t find my way out of there. Neither could another girl who was there as well. We both ended up looking for an exit. I tried a door and it turned out to be a bingo club. They asked me what I wanted. I replied that I was looking for a way to check my internet statistics. They gave me a file with their login details. The said “careful not to put your Ni n° in”. Another woman said “yes well he’ll tell you all about doing that”.

And later I’d gone into my apartment building and ended up talking to the new girl next door about a few things. She was showing me her apartment and everything. As I was leaving she asked “when can I come to visit yours?”. I replied “you can come now if you like” not thinking that she would because there’s a football match on the internet. She came anyway and she had a look round. She said how much she liked it even though it was cheap and basic with no real main facilities. I was thinking to myself that it’s a good job that I’d tidied it and put stuff away. Just then 2 customers appeared. We were somehow then in the dining room She asked if I was getting something to eat. I replied “no, I eat later” because I was going to eat at home. She took some stuff and started eating. I was trying to have a conversation with her but her conversations were more of these where you’d tell her something and she’d go off on a long speech about something else. When she would draw breath you’d start to tell her about something yourself but you could see after about 5 seconds that she had totally lost interest and wasn’t anywhere interested your conversation. I thought that it was quite pointless trying to engage her in conversation. Just then another man appeared. He came to sit at our table to eat. He said to one of the boys his given name and I recognised him straight away but he’s going to be working late tonight. I thought “does he have a football match on the internet too?”.

After that I was living in this block of flats. A new neighbour invited me in so I went in. It was a woman and I showed her around and a few tricks about the apartment etc. She asked when would I invite her to visit mine so we went next-door to mine which although furnished quite cheaply was neat and tidy. i was thinking that it’s a good job that i’d tidied up before I went out. We were chatting and ended up in the sea off Morecambe. My mother came along and put her glass down by this girl. My mother asked why and my grandmother replied “she obviously has a crush on you so it’s to keep the crushes away”

And that’s a regular theme isn’t it? No sooner do I start to think that I’m making progress in my life and along comes some member of the family to throw a spanner in the works. How many dreams have I had like that?

After that my youngest sister and I were going somewhere so we were at the bus stop at Shavington. It was extremely early, about 07:00. Someone said something to a couple of people who were waiting with me so I replied. He said “God! I didn’t see you there!” and there I was in a bright white shirt in the dark. We had a chat and I went back to the others. His bus appeared – he was going to Crewe so he climbed aboard. Then the bus came down the hill from Dodd’s Bank. I could see all the swarms of school children heading our way so that must have been the school bus. he did a U-turn at the Sugar Loaf but it wasn’t a very good one, not like the drivers we used to have years ago (who really could turn these old Crosville Bristol LWL single deckers on a sixpence). It was someone whom I knew and at first I thought that it was my father. I told my sister that he’s not very good at that. All the kids swarmed on. Then a Ford Zodiac MkIV appeared. I thought that this is the bus replacement so I flagged him down. I only had adult tickets so my sister got onto the back seat. I said to the driver who was my father that I only had adult tickets. He replied “just give me one for you. Your sister is OK”. We squidged onto the back seat with all of these other people. It was really quite uncomfortable in there and I couldn’t understand it. I was telling her that I used to have one of these years ago (in fact mine was a Zephyr 6, and fancy remembering that in the middle of a dream) and they were really comfortable cars. What surprised me was that a couple of Cortinas pulled up to take the kids away to school. They put about 20 kids in each packed on the back seat and in the boot with their heads poking up where the parcel shelf used to be and packed on the front seat and no-one said a word about that but they would soon complain if I tried to put more than 4 passenger into a taxi in the old days.

Again I can only remember a part of this. I was again with I think my youngest sister . We were waiting in the desert when a hearse pulled up and offered us a lift. We climbed in and there was a body in the back. We reached a cemetery and had to dig a grave. We dug this grave and it wasn’t very deep at all. Then they took out this coffin and put it in. The coffin was probably no more than an inch below the surface. I said “this is far to shallow for a grave isn’t it?”. He replied ” no, it’s fine. Don’t you worry about that. Just lower the coffin in”. We lowered the coffin in and he went off to do something. I thought to my sister “he’d have plenty of opportunity here to dig off the top off this coffin and drop another body or two inside it, won’t he?”.

Finally there had been two teams building the same railway line through the mountains somewhere. It had been very acrimonious. One had done it in concrete and the other in something else and they’d laid this stuff down sometimes on top of each other etc until they reached the end of the line where they had supposed to be. There was a cabin at the end of the line and we went there to inspect it and saw the confusion between the 2 lines. We slept there the night and next morning set back to walk to the halfway point where everything was already ready. We’d only gone maybe a mile, not even that, and all these concrete and other stuff works just petered out. It had all been done for show and the rest of the rail bed was just bare earth. Someone had marked out the track with stakes where the track should go. We reached certain parts where it wouldn’t even fit. They hadn’t even dug out the cuttings etc. There was one bit where on the edge of a mountain they hadn’t cut into the mountain for the track. There was no way that you could lay track on this. This became quite acrimonious as well. When we returned to the half-way cabin it was quite warm inside because there had been an old 1930s car in there that we’d made to run and managed to use to heat the water to heat the cabin. I had to but some petrol for a girl who was there but when I was searching through my pockets I couldn’t find my dictaphone. I wondered if I’d left it at the cabin so I’d have to go all the way back to the cabin at the end of the line, fetch my dictaphone and come all the way back to this one.

It’s hardly surprising that after having travelled that far during the night I wanted to stay in bed. And it will be no surprise to anyone that in the middle of transcribing all of that I actually fell asleep for an hour or so. I went to have a shower whan I awoke in order to awaken me properly and while I was at it I weighed myself. I’ve losrt another few hundred grammes and I’m only 1100 grammes away from my first target weight (but still over 6000 from where I want to be).

The rest of the day has been spent tidying up. I’ve actually cleared a whole shelf in the cupboard by the door and now I have to try to think what to do with it. What do I have that I can hide away in there out of the way?

Plenty of stuff that I should have put outside for the bin dippers but it’s raining again quite heavily right now, not that it will last all that long..

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Mind you, it’ll certainly do some good for the vegetation.

Here’s a photo that I took from almost the same place as yesterday. The hour or so of rain that we had didn’t do anything about the dust that’s around on the path but do you notice the change in the greenery today.

It’s the mauvaises herbes – the weeds that seem to have benefited from the rain yesterday. You can see that they seem to have managed to absorb some of the water and they have turned green.

What that shows in that it’s the indigenous plants that survive the best and recover the quickest after unnatural conditions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t raining when I went outside for my afternoon walk today though.

It was actually quite nice again if a little windy so I reckoned that there might be a few people out and about on the beach down below the cliffs.

There were actually more people that I was expecting and some of them had even gone onto the water which, because of the wind was quite adventurous.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea this afternoon. It wasn’t as clear as yesterday but much clearer than the other day so had there been anything out there I would have seen it.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Instead I made my way all along the path to the end and across the car park without seeing anything out at sea.

There was however something to see down here – to wit a couple of fishermen practising their art from the rocks down below. And, optimists that they are, they even had a bucket or something in which to deposit their catch.

Mind you, one of the guys looks as if he’s ready to pack up and go home. The other one looks like he’s here for the Duration and seems to be rather comfortable sitting on his rock. All he needs is a pointed hat and a long white beard and he’ll be well away.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And they have an audience this afternoon too.

There was someone sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban but he must have heard me creeping up because as soon as I poised the camera ready to shoot, he stood up.

Mind you, there really were only the fishermen out there to watch and if one of them was going home, I suppose that our spectator was too. It was actually quite strange that here we are in the middle of the summer season and there wasn’t one boat out there at all.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

And there is no change in occupancy of the place this afternoon but there’s a great deal of work going on with Cap Lihou.

In her exposed position out there by the portable boat lift we can see all around her and they seem to be having a right old time over there with a sandblaster or something, for much of her bright blue paintwork has now disappeared.

She’s obviously going to be receiving the full treatment. She looked quite nice before so if they do as good a job on her as they did with the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II she’ll look fabulous when she’s finished.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There wasn’t anyone over at the Fish Processing Plant so I turned my attention elsewhere while I was here.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries and we can tell by the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

It’s a surprise to see her here just now. Just recently we’ve seen then runnign back from the Ile de Chsueey or doing a lap of honour around the bay with a bunch of tourists. It must be a quiet afternoon today.

Not for me. I want to return to my tidying up so I’m in a hurry to go home

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I go home though I just thought that I’d mention that Chausiaise is over in the loading bay underneath the crane.

It looks as if she’s going for another run out but I wonder what she’ll be taking, seeing as all of the material is still on the quayside, and, more importantly, where she’s going.

Back here I made a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then made ready for my trip upstairs. One of the residents seems to have taken a shine to me and she’s invited me upstairs on a couple of occasions.

She’s not yet invited me to see her etchings though, and that’s a good thing.

When I set out I only intended to be there for a short while but it was three hours that I was absent. It’s hardly surprising that everything is running late and I’ve had no tea tonight. So I’ve had to rush my notes.

Anyway now that they are done I’m off to bed. I’ll carry on with the tidying up tomorrow and see where that brings me. I now know how Heracles felt in the Augean stables and I’m not likely to have any rivers flowing through here.

Thursday 4th August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING ELSE …

… today that I also vowed that I would never do. But once again, needs must when the devil drives and once again, it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

Not only did I take the bus to the hospital this morning, I took the bus back home again as well. And that’s probably more dismal than going in Caliburn to the railway station.

Last night was quite a bad night yet again with plenty of tossing and turning, and I was wide awake long before the alarm went off. But somehow I managed to go back to sleep so that the alarm awoke me with a resounding crash.

After a shower and a clothes-washing session I went in search of a toaster which one of the staff managed to track down for me so that I could have some toast for breakfast, and then I spent a little 20 minutes or so choosing some music for a future radio programme.

roadworks herestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022The bus journey was quite uncomplicated. It was, for a change, on time and it had me at the hospital quite early.

When I alighted I went over to the corner of the street to see how they were doing with the roadworks that we noticed the last time that we were here.

Now they seem to have dug up one of the carriageways as well as half of the car park. Presumably it’s to replace all of the drains, continuing the work that did lower down the street that kept us entertained for a couple of years just now.

It’s one of those things that we’ll have to continue to watch, I suppose.

Arriving early at the hospital was just as well because I had to track down my new social worker who replaced the lovely Kaatje. My medical insurance agreement expired at the end of April so the hospital sent me a bill for May’s treatment. Kaatje usually sent off the billing request to my insurance people automatically so I had to go and chivvy up the new woman.

As expected, the urologist couldn’t find anything wrong with me and suggested that I see the pneumologist. And at this I exploded because as I expected back in April, they are just sending me round in a circle. And I told the doctor what I thought of the situation.

He went to fetch his professor and I told him too in greater detail. I finished my monologue by saying that I felt that I was no longer a patient but now a statistic and that was a barb that struck home.

My examination with the cardiologist went the same way. It started off rather strangely with me wondering how they can correctly check the operation of my heart when they have a young student nurse in a low-cut overall with no tee-shirt underneath clamering all over me to connect me to her machine.

But the professor who saw me felt the lash of my tongue and the cutting edge of my wrath as well and so both he and his colleague in urology now know exactly how I feel.

Not that it did any good because a short while later I was paged to go and have some more tests at Pneumonology – the same tests that I’d had last October and on looking at the screen while the tests were ongoing, I could see that the results were exactly the same. So that was a waste of time.

At Oncology I had what at fist glance might be good news. This last batch of treatment seems to have worked as three months without it has cause a drop in my red blood count of just 0.2. And so they are going to try me for another three months without any tratment.

Ordinarily this would mean that I would be on the next plane to Montreal but the state that I’m in at the moment I can’t even go down to the end of the street.And three months before they even think about doing something else about my breathing issues means a whole waste of of a summer. I can’t see me struggling anywhere on foot dragging a suitcase behind me right now.

Cursing my luck I went to the pharmacy for my medication, only to find that they are closed. Consequently I caught the bus back to the station, did a little shopping and came home.

For 10 minutes or so I crashed out but a phone call awakened me, and then Alison came to pick me up. We had a nice meal and I had a nice cuddle of a cat while I regaled Alison with all of my woes from today at the hospital.

Back here at some point I found time to listen to the dictaphone I was trying to get hold of my friend in the USA. I’d sent him some stuff for him to dictate back to me so that I could type it out. He’d been scrabbling around for further information so I asked Rosemary about it. In the meantime somehow my friend had gone offline so seeing that I’d sent Rosemary some information to check I asked her if she’d dictate it to me. For some unknown reason she couldn’t understand what I was trying to do. It started off being a series of questions. She asked me the questions and was waiting for me to asnwer. I said “no, just read everything out slowly so that I can write it down and then I’ll give you the answers”. It went on like that and was extremely difficult to explain to exactly what it was that she was needing to do for me. Sometime in the conversation it came up that it was only 5 weeks before she was due to go off on holiday somewhere. She was worried about the Ukrainians being on their own. I was thinking of saying something to the effect that if she would like me to come down and stay at her place while she was gone so that the Ukrainians would still have some kind of point of contact but I never really got that far.

Later on my mother was taxi-driving in a Ford Granada. We were at home and my brother answered it. She said that she wanted him to go and do a taxi job later. He said “no, ask Eric” and hung up which I thought was strange because the job was to Manchester. I wasn’t a big fan of going to the airport – I didn’t fancy going all that much because it’s years since I’ve been and I don’t know the arrangements these days. I didn’t say anything. When my mother came home she was talking about a couple of the jobs that she’d done, how she’d had to drive someone into Acton and someone who had come running out of the church had seen her and had her take them to the police station at Nantwich and had had some fun rooting around for some money for change. I ashed “did you ask if they had any coppers at the police station?”. She was talking about a girl who was going to convert to Catholic and going up to see a priest in Oldham. I asked if this was what this job to Manchester was about. She replied “yes” so I said that if it’s a job to Oldham i’d quite happliy go to do it. It’s years since I’ve been to Oldham. I was thinking that I’d been somewhere round the east of Manchester just recently and a run-out to Oldham would be quite nice. I could go in one of the older cars that I happened to like. That was basically what I said but she didn’t actually say whether she wanted me to do it or not so I didn’t know where I stood about it.

Apart from the fact that my mother couldn’t drive a car, never mind drive a taxi, I’m impressed that I’m able to tell jokes in the middle of my dreams.

Ingrid and Clotilde were around in a village that might possibly have been Audlem. They were talking about art and about students who had been to help with excavations. Clotilde was saying how the students would usually disappear at about 15:30 or 15:45 and you would never see them again after that until the next day. They had no interest at all in staying until closing time of the excavations. She and Ingrid were talking about the excavations and how they get some examples of bloodstone or puzzolane. They would use it in their art. They would occasionally find layers in between the ironstone or elsewhere. Clotilde asked Ingrid if she’d go back home and bring some. Ingrid got into her car and set out but nearly hit a lorry that was coming round the corner. I think Ingrid’s nerve had gone. She was very reluctant to drive off in the dark to return home to fetch this and come back again. I was interested in finding out whether it was simply a question of Ingrid needing someone to go with her because I’d quite happily go as a passenger in a car to give her some moral support but she didn’t seem to be answering any question as to what was happening and why she didn’t want to go. She was just sitting in the car talking to the guy in the petrol station and the guy in this lorry and not really answering any of the questions that anyone else was asking of her.

After all of that I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today so I’m going to have a good sleep with no alarm in the morning. I’ll feel much better if I have a good sleep although I doubt if I’ll have one.

Monday 11th July 2022 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

fisherman in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… another extremely mobile night.

So while you admire a few nautical photographs featuring some of the dozens of watercraft that were out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

I started off out with my mother last night. We were delivering beer to various pubs all round a town somewhere. She was driving this artic. at one point we came to a pub on a corner and we took stuff in. I was back sitting inside the passenger seat which was on the right on this lorry. Then she started throwing bottles of wine to me to stack inside the cab. I caught most of them but there were 3 that I dropped. 2 of them I was able to pick up because they had dropped inside the cab but the 3rd one fell on the street. Just then an artic appeared coming from our right and tried to turn into the junction where we were parked. Of course it was practicaly impossible. They widened this road junction by demolishing the pub and a few other places that were on the corner so that he could turn in but when we looked around he had driven away. He hadn’t actually come back now that they had made these major adjustments to this road junction. I was outside picking up this bottle then I had to climb aboard the lorry. The only way to do this was round by the left-hand side of the lorry. I could walk so far but then I had to drop down into a stream and walk along it somehow reach up and open the door hoping that it wasn’t locked and haul myself up and in. I dropped myself into the stream, the water was wetting my feet as I walked. I reached right up and this door was open, unlocked which was a real piece of luck so I started to haul myself up. But I didn’t have the strength to haul myself right up and go in. I was dangling from this door, not able to haul myself up that final few inches so that I could get into the cab.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were in Germany, walking our way all across Europe, in Germany and still had 1000 or so km to go and only a couple of days. We were pressing on quite rapidly and I was certainly at the point of exhaustion but carried on. We came to a supermarket in a small village. The sign said “you are halfway” which meant halfway across Germany but we saw it and of course laughed thinking that if we’re only halfway on our journey now what’s the other half going to be like. We carried on and one of my party said that we need to stop and take a break. There were some bollards in the road a couple of kilometres further on so we can stop and rest on those and take a break before carrying on

In that dream there was something about us sitting at a table and the waiter brought over a carton with all different kinds of milk. He went around the table asking what people wanted to drink. I said that I wanted plantaardige melk which of course is Flemish. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying – for some reason he thought that I’d said “Scottish milk” at first and was going on about how milk was milk. When he suddenly realised what I’d said he said that that kind of stuff was disgusting. I said that it makes no difference. He asked me what kind of milk I want and that’s what I want.

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I had my big Opel Senator and I was down the lanes between Shavington and Weston. It wouldn’t start for some unknown reason so I rolled it but it slipped out of my hands and rolled off down the road and disappeared into the hedge. I ran after it but when I reached where I thought that it had rolled into the hedge it wasn’t there. I had a look all the way along the hedge in the area for probably an hour but I couldn’t see it at all. It was quite dark and everything. I wasn’t making very much headway at all so in the end I ran back home to round up my mother and brothers and sisters to come and help me look.They wouldn’t come and my mother said that she had better things to do. I wondered what could be better than giving me a hand for half an hour in an emergency but she didn’t say anything. In the end I went to fetch my motorbike and go to look for my car. The motorbike hadn’t run for ages so I had to start it with fresh petrol from a ladle. As I was going away from the house my mother was upstairs. She opened the door and made some kind of disparaging comment to me so I tuned to her and let loose a volley of rather offensive abuse. She asked “what do you mean by calling me that?”. I replied “don’t worry. If Mrs Chesters (our neighbour in Shavington) hadn’t been at her window I would have called you something else as well. I started my motorbike and rode it up towards Weston but then I realised that I hadn’t a clue how much petrol was in it. I thought that if I run out of petrol now on the motorbike I’d be in a real pickle. I reached Dodd’s Bank and took the new road around the corner where I met someone from the Welsh football supporters who had just moved into Shavington. We said hello and one or two things. A little further on I met someone else. We mentioned this guy who I’d just seen but I couldn’t stop to talk. I had to go off down the lanes and start to look for my car again before someone found it and had it towed away. Then I’d have no idea what would become of it.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Finally I’d gone to Blackpool in Caliburn. I was driving down the road into town when there were these red flashing lights so I stopped. Caliburn rolled a little so I put on the handbrake. Suddenly I noticed that I was on tramlines and a tram was coming so I had to reverse a little. The tram passed so close to Caliburn that it shook the vehicle. Someone said “that’s close” and someone else replied “when you’ve had your vehicle a long time you know its exact length”. I drove into Blackpool and found a place to park, went and brought some sticks of rock for my family and friends then went off for a wander around. I’m not sure what happened next after that but I ended up in a house in London. The ground floor of it was a flat where someone who lived had gone to live in the Auvergne or somewhere similar, emigrated. The flat was dark and not in very good condition. There was a lot of furniture about. I was with this person’s daughter. We were talking about the flat and a neighbour was there talking about the rock that I’d bought in Blackpool. After the neighbour had left I was looking around thinking “how on earth did they fit all of the furniture that they have taken to the Auvergne in here? It looks cluttered in the Auvergne. Here with all of the stuff that’s left there wouldn’t have been room for any of it”. The girl replied “yes I was wondering that”. When we looked at the condition of some of the furniture and condition of the flat I couldn’t understand why they wanted all of their stuff in the Auvergne to be treated like Royalty. It certainly wasn’t the case here in Blackpool. Her father lived somewhere in the neighbourhood before he was married but her mother had lived in the flat in the basement of this building. She asked me if I would like to go to see it. I said “yes, but is it vacant?”. She replied “no, there are people living in there “. I asked “do they mind?”. She replied “I told them that there was someone coming to look at the bed that they have for sale so you can go in and have a look around”.

cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So as Cap Lihou goes sailing past the end of the headland, I’m wondering why it is that the last few nights have been so animated.

Some nights have been positively peaceful with nothing going on at all whereas others have been non-stop from start to finish. I’m intrigued to see whether it’s something to do with the full moon, the state of the tide or the conjunction of the planets

And I shall refrain from making any remark at all about Uranus.

But seriously, just why oh why do members of my family keep sticking their oars in?

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’ve no real objection to Nerina wandering around with me in the depths of night. After all, regardless of anything else I did actually invite her to share my life for better or for worse. But even so, she’s not been around for a while.

As for my family, I fled across the sea in order to leave them far behind me yet they keep on creeping into my night-time activities. Whatever happened to Castor, TOTGA and Zero? And the Vanilla Queen? And Percy Penguin? It’s rather sad when I can’t actually choose my own companions but have to make do with people whom I kicked out of my life 30 years ago?

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication and so on I sat down to work on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today. It took me about 4 hours to complete it which, although not particularly fast, was still faster than a few of them have been of late.

While I was listening to it afterwards, I had several tasks to perform.

Firstly I had to send to the owners of this building a copy of my home insurance. And that’s not as easy as it might have been because the way that my French bank’s website and client page is configured, you have to be something of a detective and a mind-reader to track it down.

The next problem was much more complicated.

Someone whom I know had imported into Europe from Canada a vehicle that is not sold over here. And now they need some parts for it. Do I know anyone?

As it happens, my niece’s husband is in the motor trade so after contacting the “client” and obtaining all of the details about the car and its VIN I’ve been liaising with “Canada” about sourcing the parts, arranging shipping, dealing with issues like payment and so on.

Luckily one daughter of my niece works for one of Canada’s largest transport companies so this might actually happen, but it’s not easy and it’s not straightforward.

Once I’d finished with all of that (for now) I had a go at my mailbox. You have no idea how many mails there are in there that arrived while I was away. And I reckon that about 80% of them are junk. I’d had a quick scan through over the weekend and replied to the ones that seemed to be urgent so if you are still awaiting a reply from me, let me know.

As a result of the foregoing I ended up rather later than usual going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach

And as you might expect, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon, and the water was heaving with people.

That’s no surprise because I think that it’s just about the warmest day of the year today. I’ve had all of the windows open in my apartment and doors propped open in order to have a nice through draught of cool air

The holiday season is really in full swing right now and it’ll be like this until the beginning of September. I hope that they fix the barrier on our private car park.

The next couple of photos are pretty miserable but what is important about them is not so evident at first.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The sky was really clear today and you could see for miles, right out as far as St Helier on Jersey, which you could see with the naked eye.

But there was a weird effect of haze going on out there that was obscuring part of the island several feet above sea level. I could see the island itself quite clearly, except for the part that had disappeared in the mist.

What was interesting about that is that the tower that we can see from here is quite clear just to the left of centre in the photo but it’s part of the island that is right behind it that is lost in the haze. And that’s weird. I would have expected to have not seen the tower either

It’s a phenomenon about which I know very little.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was quite clear with the naked eye was the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

According to my calculations, that’s about 70 kms away from here so it’s not every day that we can see it, even with the 70-300mm LENS. Only 14 times in the last 12 months in fact, one of which was exactly a year ago today.

It’s a really good idea to have an indexable and searchable on-line journal.

So fighting the crowds that were milling around here, I wandered off across the car park down to the end of the headland. But today we have no fishermen on the rocks and no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

l'omerta gerlean yann frederic la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Nothing new at the chantier naval today but it looks as if we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again. L’Omerta and Gerlean were actually moored there together at the fish processing plant.

There were several other boats moored there too. One of the lighters that chugs around the port and also a couple of trawlers – Yann Frederic and over there on the right, La Bavolette II.

There were other trawlers that were on their way into port as well. We saw a couple of them earlier and there were a few more out in the bay heading our way, but I wasn’t going to wait around.

windsurfers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Meantime, my attention was diverted elsewhere.

A little earlier we had seen some yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay but there is also a windsurfing school too, by the looks of things. They seem to have plenty of clients this afternoon, with several zodiacs standing by for when someone falls in

They seem to have erected some kind of barrage of small boats out there too, presumably to stop people going beyond a certain area, but the surfers will know al about it if the wind takes them headlong into the boats.

And from there I headed off home.

hang gliders baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were crowds of people back at the wall overlooking the beach again so I wondered what was happening.

As I watched, a couple of hang-gliders took off from the field next to the cemetery so I waited for them to come my way. But in fact, they just stayed around there and didn’t go far at all.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a good session on the guitar. And that reminded me that I’d still left the bass in Caliburn so I went down there to rescue it and bring it back up here with the Roland bass cube.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on this music song-book. You never know when it might come in useful.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and it was actually quite delicious. One of my better attempts, I reckon.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh conversation class on Zoom. I have to keep in practice. And I need to hunt down a summer school as I did last year. I had plenty of success with that

So I hope that I’ll have a good sleep tonight – and I also hope that one of my preferred companions will come with me for a good roam around tonight instead of the ones who have accompanied me just recently.

Sunday 10th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wonderful day today in the beautiful weather and so while you admire the photos of the crowds of people making the most of it, I’ll tell you about my day.

It started reasonably enough with being awake at 09:30 but even so it was round about 10:30 when I finally fell out of bed. That was a really nice lie-in and I can do with a few more of those.

First thing that I did of course was to go and take my medicine. I’ve had years of practice at doing that of course, and we aren’t just talking about medication either.

And then I turned my attention to the dictaphone. And by the looks of things it needed all my attention too.

crowds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I started off with my mother, my other brothers and sisters and my father. We were in somewhere. There was a very earnest discussion going on between my mother and my father. I went to try to find out what it was. Basically they had sent my other brothers and sisters home, my father went off somewhere and my mother went off somewhere else. I went with my mother. We were looking down side streets, everywhere like that. I asked her what we were looking for and she replied “a garden”. That was something that I didn’t understand. This carried on. We were in this wasteland watching the wind blow the soil. In the end my mother said that what we were looking for was a giant armadillo roaming around somewhere. This was what we were looking out for, to make sure that we’ll all be safe from it, making sure of where it was and that the rest of my brothers and sisters weren’t there. We walked around for a bit and ended up going back to where we started. I had STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me. I went across the road but there was a car coming that had caught me in my blind spot so I had to run to get across the road back to my mother. I them threw Strawberry Moose back across the road to the other side but a car coming the other way hit him and swerved. It almost collided with a tree or something. I went back to pick up Strawberry Moose but by now he had somehow become a little girl. I picked her up to ask if she was OK and to ask her if she’d been hit by the car. She replied “no, the car had missed her”. I picked her up and carried her back over the road again to where my mother was.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022To my surprise, later on I’m back with that dream about the giant armadillo. This time I ended up with a family of Russians. I mentioned to one of them who could vaguely understand English about what was going on. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say “so what?”. They had their clothes all ready for washing so I put mine out hoping that they’d be washed instead of having to go through another couple of days. They were being washed and I was talking to the old woman, leader of this Russian family, about this giant armadillo. She didn’t seem to take it seriously and I was rather annoyed when she didn’t. That was surprising too because I didn’t really take it seriously. I didn’t really believe what my mother might have been up to.

Perhaps I ought to mention that even as kids we knew that our mother lived in a parallel universe to everyone else and was often quite detached from reality. At times it was quite embarrassing.

kayaks buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022This time I was in a café with Liz (although which “Liz” I really don’t know because I know or knew quite a few of them), someone else and Malou. At first I was on my own while the other two had gone off to clear the table and bring back some coffee. When they returned, they brought Malou. They asked which coffee was mine. I replied “a black coffee” and they mentioned 3 or 4 different types. I answered “as long as it’s black and no sugar, that’s fine and there’s no liqueur or cognac in it etc”. They sat down and Malou sat down next to me. That’s all that I remember.

And not only Liz but I wish that I knew who this other person was. I’m assuming that it’s a girl.

zodiac kayak buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I was with my friend from the Wirral last night. We had some numbers to work out on the bass guitar but I really can’t remember very much about this. There’s a whole load that’s missing that’s really interesting. It all ended up with me having to go home. We were supposed to go home quite earlyish but there was a woman there who decided that she was going to have a little rest. It was about 00:00. It was 01:30 when she awoke and then began to complain that no-one had awoken her. We replied “you told us that you wanted a little rest so how is it now our fault that everything is running late?” We had this tremendous argument about her and not awakening, everything but we stood our ground. Then we had to rig up some kind of emergency system to the fuel tank so that I could go home. I had no spare tyre and my friend didn’t have a car either so I asked “what is going to happen if I have a problem on the way home?”. He replied “you’ll just have to sort it out”. I replied “that’s the last thing that I wanted to hear”. He made up some story but I knew really that I wasn’t going to have any help. In the end the 2 of us set off for my house. We arrived really late and I was only going to have a couple of hours sleep before going to work. To my surprise I found that my family was up which meant that there was no need for quiet or discretion or anything. I could fix this car and it didn’t matter if I made some noise. I was puzzled as to why they were up, whether there was something going on or whether they were waiting for me, I really didn’t know. Anyway I said that I’d sort out something. I had a few bags together with stuff that I might need. My friend’s parting words were “what’s happening now about this arrangement?”. I thought to myself that it’s not going to be done at this time of night now, is it?


diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while we admire the fact that the diving platform has now returned to the Plat Gousset, I’m still soldiering on.

I’d been sent to prison and been put in my cell. There was another guy in there and he seemed to be OK etc. I went for a wander around and found myself in a cell with an old guy who was something of a philosopher. We had quite a lengthy chat about all kinds of different things. There was coffee brought around on a tray so I had a coffee and we carried on chatting for a while. I asked if he knew where I could find a blanket. After a couple of minutes he produced one. It wasn’t exactly the type of blanket that I wanted but you can’t pick and choose in a prison so I had that. When it was time for “lights out” I wandered back to my cell and my cellmate was on the ‘phone talking to someone or other. Our cell was quite untidy and my bed was really untidy. I thought “how am I going to sleep in here tonight?”. But looking at everything isn’t going to get it done. I noticed that there was another cup of coffee that this guy had obtained for me and put by my bed so I sat down and drank that for a moment.

And then I was with a couple of other people. We were outside someone’s house in Stoke on Trent when a girl pulled up in one of these Renault tiny little electric car things to say that she couldn’t find first gear. She was a small girl, tiny, petite. We had a look in it and frankly she had that much stuff all around the floorwell that she couldn’t depress the clutch very far. We took it apart to make sure that the linkage on the gearchange was OK, put it back together again to make sure that it worked and put it all back. It seemed to be working fine so she asked about it. I told her so she asked “how much do I owe you?”. I replied “give me a nice smile and we’ll call it quits”. She gave us a smile so we chatted for a bit. She talked about her University so I said that my friend from the Wirral who was here has 2 degrees, one from UMIST and I couldn’t remember where the other one was from. I had a degree from that college in Birkenhead but I couldn’t remember its name and neither could anyone else which was a good start. She asked about the third guy but I replied “you don’t want to know about his degree” because he’d served time in prison. We all ended up on a service bus to go back to where the cars were parked. There was a couple on there going through their shopping and someone found that he’d been to buy a card but had ended up with an empty bag. We all burst out laughing but decided that we’d have to go back on this bus to the card shop to pick up his card. I smiled and said to this girl “welcome to Stoke on Trent. It’s always chaos in Stoke on Trent”. She told me that she was on her way to pick up another car. It was going to take her 3 years to pay for it and we had a chat about that. In the end I gave her my card and said “if you’re staying around here, look me up”. She asked if that was me so I replied “yes”. She gave me a card back but it wasn’t the one that I’d given her so I put it in my wallet to look at later. There were more and more cars coming round this bend actually inside this bus. I thought that if we don’t move back to the town centre to pick up this card we’ll end up with a full bus of people and we’d have to explain everything to them and hope that they’d be OK with the situation.

But Stoke on Trent and no Zero? Isn’t that depressing?

Finally, there was a huge group of us out for a meal. A few of us had been out for a meal before including Jackie (although it wasn’t her). There was another girl called Jackie as well. We’d had a nice vegan meal at this restaurant. I’d had chips and some kind of vegan patty. We were all in this restaurant together, an even bigger group of us and I had to go outside to do something. I went to the bathroom and I had to check on a few things. I was quite hot. On my way back who should I bump into but the petite girl with the electric Renault. I found that she was coming to eat with us which I thought was great. I chatted to her and asked her how her car was. She said that it was absolutely great, it just needed a hoover out. She went into the restaurant, I washed my hands and came in. They had to invent a way of sitting us all together. I had to go and order my meal as everyone else had ordered theirs. I asked Jackie what it was that i’d had last night but she couldn’t remember. There was someone else there saying that the menu had changed – a range of items had dropped off. I had a look and saw that the menu was exactly the same as the one that we’d had yesterday so it must have dropped off a while back. I took off my jumper because I was hot so I was just in a polo shirt and trousers trying to order my meal. I couldn’t remember what I’d had yesterday and neither could they. Of course I was hoping that the seat next to this petite

But here’s a thing – not just once but twice did I step out of a dream and then step back in at a later date. Three times, really, because my friend from the Wirral has appeared in two different ones too that aren’t connected by any other pairing. I don’t think that that has ever happened in the past. Once here and there during a night but two or three? That’s never happened before.

And not only was I back in Zero’s stamping ground and she not making an appearance, we haven’t had TOTGA or Castor too, or even Nerina. But we’ve had my family appearing, up to our ears in fact. All of that is getting on my nerves.

After brunch I sat down and paired off the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing tomorrow. Strangely enough, that went quite well and some of the joints went together much better than I’ve ever done before.

While all of this was going on, I was having a chat with Liz on the internet. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken and it’s nice to hear from her

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on – rather later than usual in fact, I went out for my afternoon walk.

For a change I went off around the old town rather than around the headland. It’s been a while since I’ve been around here. And as we can see, while I’ve been away, the repairs to the medieval city walls have been progressing quite rapidly.

They have reassembled the wall that they partly demolished in the Rue du Nord and have made quite a nice job of the pointing. It’s looking much better now than it ever did before.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was there I wanted to go down the stairs to have a look at what was happening to the outside of the wall.

But that was pretty pointless right now. They have erected a scaffolding now right up to the steps and that’s covered with netting that you can see in the photo so I wouldn’t be able to see anything from down at the bottom.

But from here, what I can see is that they’ve worked all the way down to here too. Although I don’t know what they will be doing with the left-over stones that are on the scaffolding.

When that guy told me a few weeks ago that they’ll be here for another year, I don’t think that he must have meant on this particular part of the wall, considering how much they have advanced in the last few weeks while we were away.

open air theatre plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I walked down the path underneath the walls and round to the Plat Gousset.

On my way round I was aware of someone shouting from down below and I wondered what was going on. It turns out that there was a “spectacle” going on at the open-air theatre this afternoon. Some guy was performing a monologue to a fairly large crowd.

Although I could hear him talking, I couldn’t understand what he was saying so I didn’t hang around long. Instead I looked at the diving platform now installed on the concrete pillar and then pushed off on my walk.

around the world in 80 seconds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The open-air theatre at the Plat Gousset wasn’t the only entertainment taking place down there today.

Down at the Place Marechal Foch this afternoon there was some kind of entertainment going on, called “Around The World in 80 Seconds”. And I don’t think that they can be going far in that caravan or whatever it is – not in 80 seconds anyway.

However they did have a queue of people waiting to try the experience so I suppose that it must be something worth seeing.

So having seen all that I wanted to see, I headed off around the corner.

seagull chicks rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022One of the things upon which I’ve been keeping an eye have been the three seagull chicks in a nest on a roof in the Rue des Juifs.

We saw them a couple of months ago when they were fresh out of the eggs and they looked so cute and tiny. It’s really hard to believe that these are the same chicks that we saw back then They have certainly grown into monsters.

Although their parents aren’t in shot, there were several adult seagulls loitering on the roof here. It made me think that a very proud mummy seagull had brought all of her friends round to see her babies.

There are times when I don’t ‘arf write some rubbish.

childrens amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while we’re on the subject of rubbish … “well, one of us is” – ed … regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve spoken about the Square Maurice Marland quite often in the past.

For several years it was under renovation but it reopened with quite a fanfare of publicity. As time went on, it became the subject of an anonymous blog by someone who was using what they considered to be the poor state of repair of the Square as a means to attack the mayor at the time.

A new mayor was subsequently elected and I wonder what the author of the blog makes of the Square now. It’s riddled with weeds, dying grass and half of the kiddies’ rides are missing. I noticed today that the roundabout has been taken away.

people on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that yesterday we saw crowds of people on the quayside at the inner harbour.

They are still there today – well, maybe not the same people, but the crowds in general. I’m not sure though what was going on down there because I couldn’t hear any music coming from down there today but whatever it was, it must have been good. They’ve laid out the red carpet for someone, anyway.

There’s an ambulance down there too. I’m not quite sure what they are expecting

However there is still no Marité at the quayside. She’s still out and about in the Atlantic somewhere.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We do have one of our regular sailing ships out there this afternoon.

We saw La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Granville yesterday with sails furled, but here she is today with her sails unfurled and billowing proudly in the wind, always towing her lighter behind her. Although I’d like to see all of her passengers cram themselves into it in the case of an emergency.

In the background is the Brittany coast, looking quite clear today in the sunlight. It really was a nice day out this afternoon.

De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Now here’s a surprise – something that I haven’t seen before.

This twin-engined aeroplane flew out into the bay, did a lap around and then flew off down the coast towards Mont St Michel. I couldn’t see a registration number so I can’t say with any kind of assurance what she might be but she bears quite a resemblance to a “Twin Otter” – a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter.

And what she would be doing around here I really don’t know. I believe that the French Air Force has 5 of them. My contact with them is when I’ve seen them flying around Arctic Canada with Air Inuit when I’ve been out there.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and carried on chatting to Liz and then went off to make my pizza.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Earlier on I’d taken the last of the frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Having kneaded it again, I rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof and later on, assembled my pizza when the dough was ready.

When it was baked I devoured it and it wasn’t as nice as usual, for some reason. I think that the freezer hasn’t been freezing the dough correctly so when I make the next batch I’ll freeze it in the big freezer instead of the ice box in the fridge.

But now having finished my notes I’m off to bed. I have an early (like 06:00) start tomorrow to prepare my radio programme and I want to finish it as quickly as possible.

Then I can relax. But with the distance that I’ve been travelling during the night just now, I don’t know whether a good sleep is on the cards.

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Wednesday 24th November 2021 – YOU HAVE ALL HAD …

… a very lucky escape today. I was in half a mind … “your usual state” – ed … to post a photo of my naked chest today.

For the last 24 hours or so I’ve been having a pain in my chest round about where my catheter port is and when I felt it, it felt about three times the normal size

Of course, where it is on my chest, I can’t see it (not that I would want to look anyway) but on my way back from the physiotherapist I bumped into my neighbour who is a home help for the elderly and knows about these things.

She came round accordingly to have a look on her way home.

The swelling (for it is a swelling) and the “hard spot” is not actually at my catheter port but about half an inch away from it, and it doesn’t seem to be septic or anything like that.

She took a photo of it so that I could forward it to the hospital tomorrow and ask their advice. And if they can’t come up with anything, I’ll go and see my doctor.

A visit to my doctor is on the cards anyway because I’m having some serious difficulty in going off to sleep. Last night was rather later than intended but even so, being wide awake at 04:50 when I’m supposed to be lying in until 07:30 is ridiculous.

Mind you, it’s just as well that I was wide-awake because at least I wasn’t disturbed when the alarm went off at 06:00 as I’d forgotten to switch it off from last week.

After the medication and checking my e-mails I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was a long rambling dream but I can only remember a few bits. I was living in the Netherlands or Flanders and I had to take my CPC for my coach operator’s licence. I passed and was given a certificate so I took it home. On the way back I bought some more clothes from IKEA because we had two kids. I had some quite nice towels, a bluey green one and a reddy maroon one with their own little covers which would be just the thing. My mother was pleased with the towels. She didn’t understand the certificate at first but when she did she wanted to know if I was going back into business. I said “not really but it was due for renewal so I wanted to make sure that it was up to date just in case”. But there were tons more to this but I can’t remember anything

Later on there was some kind of party and I’d been there and was on my way home. I’d left my alcohol pills there but I was bringing home the church tower with the clock on it. I met these two people down the road but I can’t remember any more yet again about this which is a shame because this was beginning to sound interesting.

While I was lying there awake waiting for the alarm at 07:30 I was off on a very long ramble with my niece to a radio station in “Piedmont”, somewhere in Eastern North America. But as I was awake (at least, I think I was), that doesn’t really count.

Once I’d organised myself I started to edit out the soundfiles of the radio interview that we did a couple of weeks ago. By the time that I stopped for lunch I’d edited about 45% on the first run through.

How I do it is that I have a first run-through and edit out all of the stuttering and stammering and breathing, stuff like that, so that it’s coherent and consistent.

Then I go back through it and cut out the bits that are irrelevant to my programme.

Finally, as with any interview, the interviewee often answers questions that haven’t been asked so we dictate the questions later and edit them in to break up what might be a monologue.

And a quick note to Grahame – recording in mono, running the tracks simultaneously with “hard left” on one track and “hard right” on the other works perfectly and gives the effect that I want. Thanks for the tip.

There was just enough time for a shower before lunch (and I’m now at my lowest weight since I stopped running) and just as I’d finished, Laurent arrived.

We went off across the courtyard to the Council’s annexe where the controller of the radio works, and discussed a forthcoming “event”. And this is going to be yet another World exclusive scoop, but more about that anon.

While we were there, we discussed a few other things here and there because we’ve long-since arrived at the conclusion that leaving things until the last minute doesn’t work. We need to have a few things in stock ready.

By now it was quite late so Laurent drove me up the physiotherapist’s, hence the absence of any photos.

Today I didn’t have a go on the tilting platform. Instead she had me on the cross trainer (where I set a new personal best) and then a pile of kinetic exercises.

When she threw me out, I had shopping to do so for a change, seeing as I hadn’t been to LIDL for ages I pushed on reluctantly up the hill and round the corner.

And for a change I managed to find everything that I needed and to be un the safe side I bought three boxes of yeast. I seem to be getting through yeast and flour at an alarming rate these days. And that reminds me – I have a loaf to bake tomorrow morning.

crane rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I passed the building site that we used to observe when I came this way regularly.

There are some concrete slab walls that have gone up on the ground floor level so they seem to be at last making progress. But it’s rather slow progress, more like what you might expect of Belgian housebuilders, of which regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Carrying my rather heavy load I carried on down the hill, when I remembered that I hadn’t bought an energy drink to help me back up the hill on the other side towards home.

council workmen installing father christmas place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the town centre the Council workmen were out in force.

Every year there’s a Christmas display of some kind or other and this year the centrepiece seems to be a giant Father Christmas, surrounded by a pile of trees that have been brought in from somewhere.

On the way back up the hill I met my neighbour coming down so we had a chat about my catheter port, and then I came home for a coffee.

No photo of the beach because by now it was going dark quite rapidly.

Tea tonight was taco rolls followed by a soya dessert thing. It’s amazing what one finds in LIDL these days.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted. I had a lot of things to do today and hardly did any of them. I really must get a move on.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Zero. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Zero who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.

Tuesday 12th October 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today, no-one bothered me at all. I had quite a calm day today wthout having to deal with reams of phone calls, people having fits of hysteria an dall that kind of nonsense.

Last night’s sleep wasn’t as good as it might have been either. It was another one of these nights when I was tossing and turning around in bed.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too.

I was the owner of a helicopter last night and something had happened that meant that I was in a lot of financial difficulties over it. Some big company was trying to squeeze me out and had been serving writs and summonses on me that I’d been fighting off, not receiving and refusing to receive and so on. eventually I had to go somewhere in my helicopter and ran out of fuel and had to put down on the North European coast somewhere. So I had to land and somehow found my way back to my base but there was no food to eat or anything like that. There was a girl and a guy eating some stuff so I went to fetch their plates to wash them up but they hadn’t finished. They were playing some kind of game with a couple of cats.

There was something about a girl probably 13 or 14 driving around in an America sports car, probably in his 20s. She was clowning around in the car as if she owned it. They were just driving around like they used to do in the old days and generally showing herself off to everyone in this car.

I was in Shavington last night and they had organised a football team and it was playing friendlies. The first match that they played, they lost 2-0 and were getting ready on Sunday to play another match. They were discussing the teams, who was playing and who wasn’t, what position. I was thinking that it was a shame that they hadn’t done this a few years ago. Then a group of us headed back to the house. I was bringing back some things that I’d discovered in an old cellar. We bumped into a woman and her daughter. The daughter was on a scooter and were chatting away. The woman with me (I don’t know who it was) said “when we get back to the house I’d better get a cardboard box to put this girl’s present in. She was in fact 21 even though she only looked 13 or something. To descend into the cellar was a complicated thing. We had to move a metal grille with a pile of paper on it so this woman could go down there and get a box. half of the stuff on top of this box fell down and it was all generally confusing.

Later on my mother was going berserk about some photos that had been taken of the surrounding buildings. I had a close look at it but some of them I didn’t recognise although it was my camera. It looked to me as if someone else had been taking the photos so I was rather annoyed about this. as I tried to look my mother told me to stop wasting my time and not to bother looking through them because that was her decision anyway so I went for a walk. It turned out to be in Sandbach. I had a walk round, initially to have a look at these buildings but I don’t know what happened. I was eventually caught up in the kids coming out from school. The girls from the Grammar School were wearing big cloaks and just red tartan-coloured knickers, that’s all that they were wearing. Of course they were flirting around with a few boys, that sort of thing while they were doing it.

There was a lie-in until 07:30, which seems to be the start time these days, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages and then started to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

That started at 11:00 and went on until 01:30 without any problems although I made one or two simple errors that were rather embarrassing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I set out for town.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, there’s a good view looking out over the harbour.

This afternoon, the sailing schools were out having fun this afternoon. It was a little cool and windy, but a nice sunny day so I suppose that it was the ideal kind of weather for them to be afloat out there.

Down in the harbour itself there wasn’t very much happening at all. everything seemed to be exactly as it was when we saw it yesterday afternoon.

dumper depositing sand in skip boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was however something goin on down at the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

A dumper had turned up with a load of sand and was busy tipping it onto a container that has turned up today.

When the dumper left, I followed its course and I can now tell you that this compound and the associated machinery are here in connection with the work that we saw the other day in the Rue Cambernon.

At least, that was where it was heading when I lost sight of it.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the hill I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

There’s something having been going on down there because the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has shuffled round a little and all of the pipes seem to have moved somewhat.

The number of pipes doesn’t seem to have diminished any, though. I wonder when they are going to start doing something with them. The dredger has been here for a couple of weeks and someone must be paying a rental for that.

First stop was at the Health Centre. My doctor had told me that a new cardiac specialist had set up shop there so I went to try and blag an appointment with him, taking with me the letter that my doctor had given me.

Unfortunately the receptionist was rather intransigent but I did manage to coax the doctor’s phone number from her.

Next stop was at the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last three months of my state pension from Belgium, and it needed to be paid in. Now, where can I go with €90:18?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I only worked for about 11 months in the Belgian State Pension Scheme, back in 2005/06.

Final port of call was at the Post Office. I’ve had the estimate for the repair of the NIKON 1 J5 and it’s less that I was expecting. I needed to authorise the work and, more importantly, to pay the bill.

The way back home up the hill passed much more easily that it has done of late and I’ve no idea why that is either. It wasn’t anything like the struggle that it was a couple of weeks ago, although it’s still a long way short of how it was 18 months ago.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Back at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour we could see that Buddy M, the trawler from Cork, is still there.

She’s been here a few weeks now having her overhaul, and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that there has been a white van parked by her. maybe that can belongs to the mechanics.

From there I carried on up the hill, rather more easily, heading for my apartment and a cup of coffee. I felt that I had earned it this afternoon.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Outside the apartment there was one of my neighbours so I went over and had a chat, grabbing a photograph of a Birdman of Alcatraz on my way.

Shortly afterwards, another neighbour came over and then a third, ans we were gossiping away like a bunch of old women for about half an hour.

Most of the topic centred around the garden outside the building. There’s been a proposal for the occupiers of the building to do something with it, like plant flowers and the like. Not that it affects me in any way as I won’t be taking part, but I can’t be unsociable all my life..

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Once everyone drifted away from the conversation I walked over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

And pleasant day thatit was, there wasn’t anyone down there at all, even though there was plenty of beach to be on right now. Even the Birdmen of Alcatraz had folded up their wings and departed.

There were a few boats out there in the bay, but they were even farther out that usual so taking a photo would have been pretty much a waste of time.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But one thing that I did notice was a couple of people out on the rocks further around the beach.

They had piled up some of their clothing down there and had gone for a little paddle in the water. I hope that they were enjoying it.

Back in the apartment I made a coffee and then sat down to telephone the heart specialist. After much debate and discussion they eventually managed to fit me in on Monday 25th October – at 08:00.

That’s going to be some appointment, at that time of the morning.

Tea was pasta and veggie balls again in spicy tomato sauce – more spicy that normal because I dropped the tabasco sauce into the mix. But apart from that it was nice.

Now I’m off to bed, later than I would have liked, because I’m up at 06:00 tomorrow. I’m off to Leuven on the 08:45 train for a long day’s travel and I’m no good if I’m half asleep.

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.